It is 1943—the height of the Second World War—and Berlin has essentially become a city of women.Sigrid Schröder is, for all intents and purposes, the model German soldier’s wife: She goes to work every day, does as much with her rations as she can, and dutifully cares for her meddling mother-in-law, all the while ignoring the horrific immoralities of the regime. But behind this façade is an entirely different Sigrid, a woman who dreams of her former lover, now lost in the chaos of the war. Her lover is a Jew.My opinion: I liked the concept of the book. I liked the subject matter, but I didn't like the main character. It's very depressing to read about married women having affairs. I know not everyone is perfect and I'm not judging them, but it's depressing all the same. I especially didn't like that the main character has an affair with a man who doesn't show love or respect for her. He blatantly uses her and treats her rudely.
But Sigrid is not the only one with secrets.
A high ranking SS officer and his family move down the hall and Sigrid finds herself pulled into their orbit. A young woman doing her duty-year is out of excuses before Sigrid can even ask her any questions. And then there’s the blind man selling pencils on the corner, whose eyes Sigrid can feel following her from behind the darkness of his goggles.
Soon Sigrid is embroiled in a world she knew nothing about, and as her eyes open to the reality around her, the carefully constructed fortress of solitude she has built over the years begins to collapse. She must choose to act on what is right and what is wrong, and what falls somewhere in the shadows between the two. In this page-turning novel, David Gillham explores what happens to ordinary people thrust into extraordinary times, and how the choices they make can be the difference between life and death.
However, I did like the main character's transition from an average German citizen to someone whose eyes are opened and takes action. It was also neat how the story ended, with all the characters working together.
I recommend this to those who enjoy historical fiction, WWII fiction, and people who aren't bothered by some crude sexual descriptions.
Why I gave this book 3/5 stars: Neat setting, good character progression, inspiring in some ways. Also depressing, with unsatisfying relationships between characters.
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